Unifi to Close Kinston Plant, Also Ousts Chairman/CEO

Posted August 2, 2007 12:39 p.m. EDT

— Unifi is closing its yarn production plant in Kinston following a major shakeup in the company’s management.

Some 260 people will lose their jobs in Kinston, the company said. Unifi bought the plant in 2004 to produce what it calls “partially orientated yarn.” Production of that material will continue at a plant in Yadkinville.

The plant closing news came just hours after Unifi’s board removed its chairman and chief executive officer. Several board members also left.

On Thursday morning, Unifi (NYSE: UFI) announced it had lost $72.3 million in the company’s most recent quarter compared to a $5.4 million loss in the same quarter in 2006.

William Lowe, chief operating officer of Unifi, said the Kinston plant was closed due in part to global competition and a “make-versus-buy” decision for that type of yarn.

The plant will be closed by the end of the year and will produce $12 million in cost savings, the company said.

On Wednesday, Brian Parke was “terminated: as chairman and CEO “effectively immediately,” the company said. He had been president of the company since 1999, CEO since 2000 and chairman since 2004. He will continue to work with the company as vice chairman of a joint venture in China.

Stephen Wener, CEO of Dillon Yarn since 1980, will take over as Unifi’s chairman and acting CEO. He was named a Unifi board member in May.

Parke was one of six board members who resigned. The company still has five people on the board.